Our lives, personal and professional, have been disrupted in a way that many of us may have never imagined. As schools and businesses close, people find themselves isolated from colleagues, friends and family, and sometimes facing this challenge alone. Everything that we took for granted seems to be upside down and inside out. And there is no definitive end in sight.
Designing Collaborative Workplaces
2017 continues to be a year of significant anniversaries. Queen’s University is celebrating its 175th, Canada its 150th and the IRC is marking 80 years of professional development programs for HR, LR and OD professionals. These milestones are important, as they provide a valuable opportunity to celebrate our achievements, but also reflect on how the world of work has dramatically changed over time.
Summer is here and many of us are already taking vacations and spending some quality time with our family and friends. I am currently attending our summer Negotiation Skills program, being offered in beautiful downtown Halifax. At the IRC, we are reflecting on the spring program season and preparing for the fall. I would like to take a minute to thank all the people who attend our programs and the organizations who sponsor them. Congratulations to those who have earned their certificates.
Let’s begin with a question. Are you experiencing barriers to working collaboratively, even though you know collaboration is necessary? If you answered yes, this article is for you. We all know that contemporary work requires collaboration. In our fast-paced, knowledge-intensive workplaces, success requires people to integrate and leverage their efforts.
There’s a great deal of talk about high performance organizations and teams these days. In a rapidly moving global economy that increasingly relies on big data and technology, we all recognize the advantage of using information and systems to help drive innovation and set goals. But how do we determine which models are most appropriate for our organization’s unique needs?
Do you encourage collaboration between departments? Are you ready for a changing demographic in your workforce? Do you know how technology will change your organization in the future? This past spring, Queen’s IRC hosted a summit to explore our workplaces in motion. We invited people to come together to reflect, share and re-imagine how their workplaces could become more transparent, integrated and inspiring. Through an old world – new world lens, we explored how four inter-related trends, are shaping the new employee, the new work, and the new workplace.
Queen's IRC has interviewed many of our expert facilitators, speakers and staff, in the areas of Labour Relations, Human Resources and Organizational Development. These interviews are now available on our YouTube channel. We encourage you to take the time to check out these videos.
The study of generational differences has garnered increasing interest among organizations, practitioners and researchers in recent years. There are many reasons for this keen interest, including the need to manage people from several different generations, to better adapt the workplace to a multigenerational workforce, to attract and retain new talent, and to identify the working conditions that will lead to positive attitudes and behaviours among younger workers.
Teamwork is the way we work in organizations. In our highly dynamic work environments, people are challenged to collaborate, almost daily, in service of efficiency, quality and innovation goals. Often, these challenges require coworkers from different units and with diverse skills, to quickly group and flexibly regroup as projects unfold. Unfortunately, most organizations are not designed for fluid, cross-boundary collaboration. To the contrary, the legacy of the formal hierarchy, with tightly defined job boundaries, serves to thwart, rather than promote teamwork across boundaries.
The increased diversity in Ontario workplaces, the benefits and challenges that diversity presents to organizations, and initiatives to increase awareness and make our workplaces more inclusive have been an important focus of Canadian businesses and their human resource professionals over the past several decades.
While teams have traditionally focused on their own insular work and processes, today's teams must take a whole-systems perspective and engage system players in the learning journey. Accordingly, they are more focused on getting a holistic understanding of the challenge, securing required resources and expertise, and defining the process members will follow.
With organizations and their environments in a state of constant flux, organizational development researchers have been challenged to develop methodologies that enable fast yet comprehensive change. In response, a wide range of large-group change techniques has emerged, including future search, open space, simu-real, and search conference.
Large group interventions are designed to help people collaborate effectively by thinking and acting from a whole-systems perspective. “Whole systems” refers to the way an organization operates internally through its processes and externally through its relations to customers and other stakeholders. There are a number of core values underpinning all whole-systems change methodologies.
Respect, not superficial goodwill, is the key to inspired teamwork, says Dr. Shawna O’Grady, Associate Professor of Management at Queen’s School of Business. Great teams work hard at keeping members aligned and making the most of creative conflict. We spoke recently with Shawna about the challenges of creating and sustaining a collaborative work environment. When …
Jana Raver, Assistant Professor and E. Marie Shantz, Research Fellow in Organizational Behaviour at the Queen’s School of Business, is an expert in counterproductive behaviours at work. We spoke to her upon the release of her ground-breaking study, “Beyond the individual victim: Linking sexual harassment, team processes, and team performance.” Managers and leaders may be …
The use of ‘high-performance’ workplace practices and incentive pay plans have received considerable attention from researchers. Little is known, however, about human resource practices in non-manufacturing and non-case study settings. Moreover, for incentive pay, few studies have actually observed compensation contracts. This paper examines the relationship between several workplace practices and earnings using unique employee-employer …
One of the fundamental challenges of Primary Health Care Reform is the establishment of collaborative health care teams to meet the needs of patients and society in a timely and effective manner. The characteristics of effective primary care team function have not been well studied. Millward and Ramsay (1998) used the Cognitive Motivational Model to …
We asked John Phelan – who teaches leadership at the Queen’s School of Business and has been the mental skills coach for the Ottawa Senators hockey team since 2000 – about the similarities between sports teams and organizational teams. He says that building relationships is the key to good teams and good leadership – both …
The managers who gathered around the table to plan a large budget cut didn’t look much like a cohesive team. In fact, they resembled competing animals around a shrinking watering hole. Each had his or her own staff and mandate to protect. And everyone realized how high the stakes were: if the downsizing wasn’t done …
What skills need to be mastered for an academic team to succeed? The most important are the ability to establish effective team management practices, and developing advanced communications and problem-solving skills.
This review of the academic literature considers the prevalence of work teams in industry, and what factors influence whether self-managing teams become high-powered, or low-performing.
The experts advise a team on how to get through “the muck in the middle” to become a high-functioning work group.
This current issues paper studies the benefits and drawbacks of email in the workplace – and its potential for increasing employee participation by enabling more democratic communication.
Team-based organizations are growing at a rapid pace. Recent research estimates that `40 to 50 percent of the workforce could be in some kind of empowered work team environment by the turn of the century' (Manz et al. 1997, 4). In addition, as global competition forces organizations to become more productive `there is growing consensus that training must be at the forefront of their attempts to do so' (Martocchio and Baldwin 1997, 7).